One of the attractions of modern prefab has always been that one gets the design talent of a good architect without having to go through the time and expense of actually working with one; many people also are afraid of architects, fearing that they will get what the architect is selling rather than what they want to buy.
This is particularly an issue with modern design, where people are much more likely to be comfortable if they can see plans and pictures of a house that has already been resolved. It is the reason for the success of Michelle Kaufmann's modern prefabs; once the first is built the others are much easier.
For quite a few years now Greg Lavardera has been selling modern home plans, and now quite a few of them are getting built. Shown above is Greg's Plat House built for Don DeFeo, who confirms the point: According to the New York Times, the fact that the Plat House had been built before only helped to convince him. "There was one already completed in Arkansas," said Mr. DeFeo, "and they had great pictures of the house online."
Even Greg will admit that "The design is based on a guest house I worked on in 1995 and which has been updated, completely redesigned actually, to offer as a stock plan. Complete drawings were never done the first time around so it is being recreated from the ground up to make it part of the plan collection."- it takes time to gain traction.
It is a simple, efficient 1420 square foot house and Greg presented it well, but the pictures tell the story better:
Stock plans are a great way to promote modern, efficient and well-resolved designs and to save a bit of money and time for the client. More importantly it is great way to reduce risk as you know what you are getting. Another important point is that many architects cannot make money doing one-offs of very small houses, whereas by selling plans all of that work can be amortized over a number of units. That creates a greater opportunity for smaller, better, greener houses without architectural bloat.
Greg also notes that "We have always favored modern/contemporary design for residential architecture, but the day to day life of a small architectural practice on the east coast does not encounter many clients interested in this kind of design."- by selling plans, he is able to reach a larger market for modern than he could providing full architectural services, and certainly farther than architects doing modular designs, who are limited to the range that their factories can deliver and install to, a factor slowing the spread of modern modular design.
Congratulations to Greg Lavardera for breaking through the barrier of banality in the stock plan biz and offering a catalogue of smart modern houses and persevering long enough to get a few built. ::Lamidesign Read also ::New York Times on new and different stock plans.